While the Merbaby is still wet from the sea, using an unbound iron knife cut the twelve spines from the tail fin. Then place the infant into a small barrel of seawater. Place the spines in a woolen cloth soaked in freshwater. Under no open sky, place the Merbaby on a wooden plank next to an extinguished fire. Let there be no heat from the fire or it will mar its skin, but do little harm. Wrap the tail first with a layer of oak or sycamore leaves freshly picked or dried flat and treated with mugwort oil. Then wrap this with a cloth of cotton. Then finally with a cloth of wool. Bind these wrappings with a twine made from hair of a young girl, a woman, and a crone. Swaddle the rest of the merbaby loosely for it will need to breathe deeply. Feed it with milk and honey dabbed into its mouth with a bird feather. Change the coverings every day at high noon. The twelve spines must be kept until this time in an oaken flask filled with inland rain water gathered in parts over one year. Say the words of Ca Artha as you cover the flask. After two weeks or ten days, the tail will have split into two like legs. At dusk, remove all wrappings and bury the Child to its hips in the earth near an oak tree, or any other hale living tree. Drive the spines into the earth in a circle around the Child, the first spine in between the Child and the moon. At each hour, pour a twelfth portion of the rain water on the spine positioned between the Child and the moon. At the sixth hour, as the moon begins to wane in its journey, pour the measure on the spine opposite the Child and the Moon.
You may ask. The iron knife is of the earth, raw and hard and pure. The Volcanic God met its match in the Ocean, but there is mutual respect. Without the spines, the tail once one and whole, becomes two but of a pair. The duality of top and bottom makes the human and this is good for focus and purpose; in the Mer the top and the bottom are duality and wholeness, and this is good for living in the flowing world. The spines hold their own nature, alone they may be useful as foci, eventually becoming thin, their power spent into memories. After, you may gather them and return them to their flask. They will still retain most of their original power. The wooden plank is the land life, the extinguished fire is the cycle’s end, the merbaby is placed here to indicate its path. The leaves soak the strength to grow into the twelve wounds on its tail fin. The Cotton cloth brings the Hand and Will of ‘Man. The Wool cloth brings the Submission and Rulership to ‘Man. The Twine of the Three is that which binds all ‘Man to existence. It will need to breathe freely, for it must now work harder to get breath from air. Its lungs will grow stronger, and many a mighty singer has somewhere in their line the Ocean to thank. It will grow strong with milk and honey, and will take the nourishment gladly from the feather. Birds, like Fish, swim through their worlds, and do not scare the Mer nor ‘Man. Do not use your fingers or any spoon of iron or wood, for its teeth are razor sharp and it will bite still. You may use the same cloth wrappings and twine, but add new leaves. The leaves of the dressing will mostly absorb into the infant’s body giving it strength and material to grow.
You may ask. The oaken flask is the symbol of Land shaped by the hands of ‘Man. The Rainwater is the cousin of the Ocean that serves the Land and knows well the languages of ‘Man and all things that walk the land. The Rainwater knows Time as a moving thing, whereas the Ocean knows eternity. The Spines will soak these lessons into their core. The words of Ca Artha, spirit of Rock, need only be invoked in the new so that the Mer Child knows their place in the language of ‘Man. The song is long, but the opening words are all you need say, for the rest of the song will come of its own. Deep and old, older than thou, From above you came, from below I come. Dance of Ocean, stir my flame, Brush your waters atop my body, Until, red, I move.
You may ask. The Moon will call the Water of Life, and push or pull them according to the time and position of the Water. You place the tail spines first so that their power will be pushed into the Child, then as the moon wanes, pulled.
After this is done, as the sun returns, lift the Child from the earth and carry it home to its bed.
The Child will be a seafarer, but never will swim. The waves shall speak his name and the ocean will grant his wishes. The Wind off the water will bring news from afar and he will grow wise. Ever his Will shall rise as the tide and none shall withstand it. The Song of the Wash will teach him secrets and treasures will be his.
The Child, grown, aged, weathered and bent, will return at last to find home.
The old man refolded the parchment and dropped the pages into the trunk without retying the bundle.
“Grandpa!” the woman called up the staircase, “Supper’s ready!”
As he walked through the dunes, the old man couldn’t hear her calling him out the window, his ears filled with the sound of the surf.
David Araki is a New York City based writer and artist. He mostly writes short fiction, and has about a million ideas jotted down to develop. In the Six Degrees Of Anais Nin, he connects in five degrees through Michael Shaw’s son. (D Shaw, M Shaw, JFK, Max Jacobson, Anais Nin.) Other work can be found at https://medium.com/@DaveAraki